What is estate planning?
Estate planning is simply the process of planning ahead to make sure your financial, medical and lifestyle affairs are in place when you pass away or become sick and can no longer manage them yourself. Having a valid up-to-date Will is a good place to start but it’s just the beginning. A comprehensive estate plan is so much more.
Through your estate plan you can:
- protect and provide for your loved ones
- make sure your assets are distributed as per your wishes and in the most tax-effective way
- nominate someone you trust to manage your financial, medical or lifestyle affairs
- create structures such as trusts to protect your assets, and
- establish a charitable giving program.
Having an estate plan ensures that the wealth you have worked hard to build is protected. It reduces the stress on you and your loved ones by ensuring that you will be looked after during your lifetime and that your assets will be distributed smoothly, tax-effectively and according to your wishes. You don’t have to be wealthy to have an estate plan. You also don’t have to wait until you’re older to get your estate affairs in order.
Estate planning is particularly important if you:
- are a parent
- have a complex family situation - such as a second marriage or blended family
- have loved ones with special needs
- have a history of, or the potential for, family disputes
- have recently bought or sold major assets
- have a family trust, self-managed super fund or business.
How a financial planner can help
A financial planner can assist with setting up an estate plan, ensuring you have a valid Will, other important legal documents and appropriate personal insurance. They can also help you determine the most financially and tax-effective way to distribute your assets when you pass away.